ABSTRACT

We have modeled numerically the seismic response of a poroelastic inclusion with properties applicable to an oil reservoir that interacts with an ambient wavefield. The model includes wave-induced fluid flow caused by pressure differences between mesoscopic-scale (i.e., in the order of centimeters to meters) heterogeneities. We used a viscoelastic approximation on the macroscopic scale to implement the attenuation and dispersion resulting from this mesoscopic-scale theory in numerical simulations of wave propagation on the kilometer scale. This upscaling method includes finite-element modeling of wave-induced fluid flow to determine effective seismic properties of the poroelastic media, such as attenuation of P- and S-waves. The fitted, equivalent, viscoelastic behavior is implemented in finite-difference wave propagation simulations. With this two-stage process, we model numerically the quasi-poroelastic wave-propagation on the kilometer scale and study the impact of fluid properties and fluid saturation on the modeled seismic amplitudes. In particular, we addressed the question of whether poroelastic effects within an oil reservoir may be a plausible explanation for low-frequency ambient wavefield modifications observed at oil fields in recent years. Our results indicate that ambient wavefield modification is expected to occur for oil reservoirs exhibiting high attenuation. Whether or not such modifications can be detected in surface recordings, however, will depend on acquisition design and noise mitigation processing as well as site-specific conditions, such as the geologic complexity of the subsurface, the nature of the ambient wavefield, and the amount of surface noise.

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